ISRO to undertake 2 unmanned missions, send robot in Gaganyaan spacecraft, says space agency chief

Indian Space Research Organisation chief K Sivan on Wednesday said the space agency will undertake two unmanned missions in December 2020 and June 2021, PTI reported. He added that the Gaganyaan mission, or the human space flight, will ensure India’s continuous presence in space in the future.

Kerala food back on IRCTC menu after social media backlash

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism, the catering subsidiary of Indian Railways, has restored traditional Kerala dishes that were removed from the menus of trains such as the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto, and eateries at stations in the state in November, Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.

‘Don’t fall prey to sectarian forces’: Tamil Nadu Congress chief to Rajinikanth for Periyar remarks

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief KS Alagiri on Wednesday criticised actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth for his remarks about social reformer Periyar EV Ramasamy, and questioned why he was selectively quoting from the past, The Hindu reported.

Centre moves Supreme Court to seek ‘victim-centric’ rules in death row cases

The Centre on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to seek “victim-centric” guidelines in cases where the convicts have been given the death penalty, NDTV reported. The government said in its application that the current rules are skewed in favour of the convicts, as they allowed them to “play with the law and delay execution”.

Shiv Sena denies but Congress’ Prithviraj Chavan insists it sought alliance after 2014 polls too

Maharashtra Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said he stood by his claim that the Shiv Sena had approached his party for an alliance after the Assembly elections in 2014, The Indian Express reported. The Shiv Sena had refuted the claim in the Wednesday edition of its mouthpiece Saamana.

Jamia violence: Delhi court seeks police report by March 16

A court in Delhi on Wednesday directed the police to file a report by March 16 on the action taken to address the police violence at Jamia Millia Islamia University on December 15, PTI reported. Metropolitan Magistrate Rajat Goyal issued the directions after university officials sought the registration of a first information report against the police.

Interpol issues blue corner notice against Nithyananda on Gujarat Police’s request

The Interpol has issued a blue corner notice to locate self-styled godman Nithyananda on a request from the Gujarat Police. He is accused of abducting children and using them to raise money for his ashram in Hirapur, almost 50 km from Ahmedabad.

Mumbai to remain open all night from January 27 after Thackeray government approves ‘24-hour policy’

Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday announced that the state Cabinet had approved the “Mumbai 24 hours policy” that will allow malls, multiplexes and shops to remain open round the clock from January 27.

Mangaluru airport bomb scare: 36-year-old suspect surrenders to Bengaluru Police

A 36-year-old man suspected of placing a live bomb in a bag at the Mangalore International Airport in Karnataka on Monday surrendered to the police in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Pakistan and America are theocratic countries, but not India: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said India, unlike Pakistan, was not a theocratic country because it considers everyone in the world as one family, PTI reported. Speaking at a National Cadet Corps camp in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said: “We [India] said we would not discriminate among religions. Why did we do that? Our neighbouring country [Pakistan] has declared that their state has a religion. They have declared themselves a theocratic state. We didn’t declare so.”

JNU server room was not vandalised by protesting students, university tells RTI applicant

Biometric systems and CCTV cameras in Jawaharlal Nehru University’s server room were not damaged in the first week of January, the institute has said in response to a Right to Information query, PTI reported on Wednesday. Though this contradicts the administration’s version of events leading up to a mob attack on the university’s students and teachers on January 5, the university dismissed media reports about its response to the RTI query. “All FIRs and other complaints filed with police are in line with facts,” ANI quoted it as saying.

JD(U) leader Prashant Kishor dares Amit Shah to implement CAA, NRC in his ‘chronology’

Janata Dal (United) National Vice President Prashant Kishor on Wednesday lashed out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had on Tuesday said that no matter who protests, the Citizenship Amendment Act will not be revoked.

CAA: National child rights body says children protesting at Shaheen Bagh need counselling

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Tuesday issued an order to the district magistrate of South East Delhi to identify the children involved in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh, and send them for counselling, The Indian Express reported.

India slips 10 spots to 51st rank in annual Democracy Index due to ‘erosion of civil liberties’

India dropped 10 places in the latest Democracy Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and retained its status as a “flawed democracy”. The country was ranked 51 on the index for 2019 – its lowest since the rankings began in 2006, reported Bloomberg. India’s overall score fell from 7.23 out of 10 in 2018 to 6.90 last year, mainly due to an “erosion of civil liberties”, the index report said. The country was ranked 42 in 2017 and 41 in 2018.

Citizenship Act: Women protestors in Etawah chased and caned by UP Police, says report

The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district allegedly chased and caned women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Tuesday, NDTV reported. Mobile phone footage from the area shows the police chasing women in Pachraha and beating them even as they scream in pain and ask why they were being caned.

Protest watch: Anti-CAA shutdown planned in North East, women sit outside Supreme Court at night

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continued in various parts of the country ahead of a Supreme Court hearing of dozens of pleas challenging the validity of the law.

Karnataka BJP legislator Renukacharya claims Muslims have been storing weapons in mosques

Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party MLA MP Renukacharya claimed on Tuesday that members of the Muslim community have been storing weapons in mosques, instead of offering prayers, NDTV reported. “Instead of offering prayers, Muslims are storing weapons in mosques and their priests are giving fatwas instead of sermons,” Renukacharya said at a pro-Citizenship Amendment Act rally in his hometown of Honnalli in Davenagere district in Karnataka.

Maharashtra government makes it compulsory for school students to read the Preamble to Constitution

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday ordered that school students across the state must recite the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, during their morning assemblies from January 26, NDTV reported on Wednesday. School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad made the announcement.

Citizenship Act: SC says it won’t stay law without hearing Centre

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will not grant a stay on the amendments to the Citizenship Act without hearing the Centre, PTI reported. It also said that it may refer the petitions to a larger bench. A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna began hearing more than 140 petitions on the amendments to the Citizenship Act. Most of the petitions have challenged the controversial law.

NPR form: Questions on date, place of parents’ birth may be dropped, says BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan

Lok Janshakti Party leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said the government would consider the demand to drop the questions about the date and place of birth of one’s parents in the proposed National Population Register, The Hindu reported.

Gogoi sexual harassment case: SC employee who complained against former CJI reinstated, says report

The Supreme Court has reinstated the woman employee who had levelled sexual harassment allegations against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The woman joined duty and then went on leave, sources told the newspaper. They added that all her arrears have been cleared.

Delhi: Five flights diverted due to dense fog, 22 trains delayed

Five flights were diverted from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Wednesday as dense fog engulfed the national Capital. “Five flights diverted as captain was not trained to land under CAT conditions,” an airport official said. When the runway visual range is 200 metres, only pilots who are trained to land under Category 3A (CATIIIA) conditions can do so. When the range is 50 metres, only pilots trained under Category 3B can land.

Citizenship Act: Call off Shaheen Bagh protest, urges Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday urged protestors at Shaheen Bagh to stop their agitation, and claimed that it was inconveniencing schoolchildren, patients and the general public. Baijal met an eight-member delegation on Tuesday. They submitted a memorandum of demands, including the withdrawal of the amendments to the Citizenship Act.

Jammu and Kashmir: Donald Trump again reiterates offer to help India and Pakistan resolve dispute

United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his offer to help resolve the Kashmir matter, ahead of a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland. Trump had offered a number of times to mediate in the Kashmir dispute since August 5, when the Indian government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and split in into two Union Territories. But the offers were turned down by India every time.

Citizenship Act: Women protest outside Supreme Court hours before judges hear pleas related to law

A group of women protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act outside the Supreme Court late on Tuesday night. They were from Delhi’s Rani Garden area, according to activist group Pinjra Tod. The police forced the women to disperse, and detained one of them, Pinjra Tod added. The protest came hours before the top court hears more than 140 petitions related to the controversial law.

Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi begins Centre’s Kashmir outreach initiative

Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said the purpose of Union ministers’ visit to Jammu and Kashmir was to get a firsthand account of the problems faced by people there and address their concerns, PTI reported. Naqvi is the first Union minister to visit Kashmir as part of the Centre’s outreach programme since its special constitutional status was scrapped in August.

China virus outbreak: Seven Indian airports told to screen passengers

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday directed seven airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kochi – to make arrangements to screen passengers arriving from China, where a viral outbreak has killed four people, PTI reported. The coronavirus is part of same family as the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, and has reportedly spread to 20 Chinese cities, and South Korea, Japan and Thailand. The city of Wuhan in Hubei province is the epicentre of the outbreak.

Citizenship Act: Supreme Court to hear over 140 petitions related to the law tomorrow

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a batch of more than 140 petitions on the Citizenship Amendment Act, ANI reported. A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna will hear the pleas – most of which have challenged the controversial law. The judges will also hear the Centre’s petition for citizenship law-related pleas filed in the Delhi High Court to be transferred to the top court.